LaWana Richmond has been a sci-fi fan for over 40 years and launched the annual Afrofuturism Lounge in 2018. The event coincided with Comic-Con in San Diego as an after-party her space for self-proclaimed black geeks to gather for her cosplay contest. , entertainment, food and fun. That annual party drew attention to Afro Con 2022, an expanded Afrofuturism program that explores the intersections of black history, culture and future with science fiction themes.

“Afrofuturism has evolved from an expression outside the margins to a rethinking of who we are, or what we might be, in the future,” she says. Beyond the myth of “magical black people” who exist solely to advance the narrative of their co-workers, or employers, it acknowledges that black people will continue into the future as fully realized human lines and interests.

For the second time this year, the annual convention will be held Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. at the Jackie Robinson YMCA in San Diego, with guest speakers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers, entertainers and entrepreneurs working together. Share spaces and collaborate.

Richmond, 54, lives in La Mesa and is the CEO and founder of Firyali, Inc. Firyali, Inc. produces the Afrofuturism Dream Tank, a convention, Afrofuturism lounge and immersive art experience. He also serves as the Organizational Development and Training Manager for Transportation Services at the University of California, San Diego. She took the time to talk about this weekend’s competition and what people can expect if they attend.

Q: Tell me about Afrocon.

A: Afro Con 2022 will convene Afrofuturists from all over the country to provide a platform to spark untapped creativity, advance critical Afrofuturist thinking, and ignite collaborative enterprise. This is a post-pandemic platform solely focused on highlighting the diverse talents of emerging Afrofuturists. This year’s Afrofuturism Lounge, held earlier this summer, was a continuation of the original party, but also included several panels featuring Afrofuturists in technology, art, music, science and his leadership of his discussions. was provided. Afro Con does it all at scale to give these unique individuals the opportunity to network, collaborate and start innovating beyond our wildest imagination.

Q: What can people expect when they attend Afrocon this weekend?

A: People can expect to hear from and network with great Afrofuturists. Tony Washington is a concept artist, illustrator and music producer working in comics, videos, games and movies. Winston Shaw, writer, producer and founder of digital publishing company GTET LLC (he wrote “Artless”, a haiku video/audio/e-book during the pandemic. Specializing in 1:18 scale production) Afro-Futurism by a studio that did it); Karl Nash, who immersed himself in genres from punk to funk, performed with Andra Day, and performed on stage with Bootsy Collins. Attendees will also meet entertainer, writer, film director and producer Diemirue Deniran. His new movie “Ojanoma” debuts in the US on Saturday night at one of his off-campus Afro his con his events.

Q: In the press release for this year’s event, you said that Afrocon stands for Afrofuturism Consciousness Convention and part of what the convention is meant to do is to advance the thinking of Afrofuturists. First, can you talk a little bit about what Afrofuturism is? What does it mean?

A: Afrofuturism is a new movement that gained momentum with the movie Black Panther. It is a transformation of black culture, futuristic literature, art, music, science fiction, and other genres that incorporate elements of black history. Afrofuturists are mobilized by history and let their imagination run wild.

What I love about La Mesa…

I live in La Mesa and love the mix of village feel and modern amenities and developments. There are car shows, Oktoberfest and many parks within walking distance or a short drive. Speaking of short drives, La Mesa is a relatively short drive from most places in San Diego County.

Q: According to your website profile, you’ve been reading and watching sci-fi and horror for over 40 years and you’re still not satisfied. What was your first encounter with science fiction, and what was it about it that made you a fan of the genre?

A: The first science fiction novel I read was “This Perfect Day” by Ira Levin. I came across “Star Trek” (the original series) early in my life. I don’t remember anything other than being simultaneously disturbed and intrigued. I now find myself interested in the Omniverse. Find peace in the vague fog of infinite possibilities.

Q: What’s your favorite sci-fi movie of the last few years?

A: “Stranger in a Stranger Land” by Robert A. Heinlein. Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series. All written by Octavia Butler (especially “Clay’s Ark”, “Dawn”, and “Parable of the Sower”). “My Soul to Keep” by Tananarive Due and subsequent series. “Street Lethal” by Stephen Burns, “Lions Blood” and others. “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi. And Ayana Gray’s “Beasts of Prey” is the first work that comes to mind. I connect with each of these books and series in a different way. Even before it came to fruition, “The Fable of the Sower” stood out as a story that I connected with in a special way because of the superpowers and vulnerabilities of its protagonists.

Q: Who are your favorite Afrofuturist writers/creators and what do you think stands out about their work?

A: Writers and creators I enjoy include Keithan Jones, Sheree Renee Thomas, Tim Fielder, John Jennings, David Walker, Aubree Rose, Marcus Newsome, Winston Shaw in addition to the list above. I am grateful to have been shown a new world as well as a fresh look at the world we live in.

Q: What have you learned about yourself through your work planning and running events centered around Afrofuturism?

A: This job has taught me to adapt more quickly to change and be open to shifts and pivots. I learned to commit to who I am with love.I learned to give (not just to others) and to include myself in grace.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

A: No matter how much education or money you have, your greatest asset is your relationships.

Q: Name one thing people would be surprised to know about you.

A: There are two things most people don’t know about me. I am shy in recovery and do everything out of love. “

Q: What is your ideal San Diego weekend?

A: I supply the mind, body and soul with everything they need for optimization: rest, exercise, nourishment, water, meditation, socialization, solitude. Massage is a matter of course. Visual and performance art is a must. even if it’s yours. The weather is nice enough to be near or in the water.

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